Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Let Herbie introduce you

A few months ago I attended an excellent conference on Song of Songs. It was simply fabulous. Amongst other things, the speakers reminded me of the interconnectedness of Scripture as well as of the supremacy of our God, who in Song of Songs is revealed to be the greatest poet of all.

Now in a culture where poetry is mostly considered dull, overly complex or as an unnecessary form of communication, what hope is there of enjoying the best poem ever written/the all time best single (cf. Song of Songs 1:1)

I want to suggest that the best way for us to enjoy and savour the poetry abundant in Scripture, is by simply reading poetry. Any poetry. Milton, Keats, Shakespeare, Solomon, King David, Hopkins. Whoever - just read some poetry.

Now of course make sure you indulge and be fed wonderfully as you meditate on Scripture's poetry but as you seek to grow in understanding how poetry works, what makes a good poem, how words could carry multiple meanings etc just read some poetry.

Which leads me nicely to introduce George Herbert. Herbie as I'd like to refer to him lived in the late 16th, early 17th century and wrote poetry that was admired by no less than Richard Baxter. To get a taste of this great poet and to begin perhaps a journey of loving poetry and understanding books like Song of Songs better, why not slowly read Herbie's great poem, Aaron below

HOLINESS on the head,
Light and perfection on the breast,
Harmonious bells below raising the dead
To lead them unto life and rest.
Thus are true Aarons drest.

Profaneness in my head,
Defects and darkness in my breast,
A noise of passions ringing me for dead
Unto a place where is no rest :
Poor priest ! thus am I drest.

Only another head
I have another heart and breast,
Another music, making live, not dead,
Without whom I could have no rest :
In Him I am well drest.

Christ is my only head,
My alone only heart and breast,
My only music, striking me e'en dead ;
That to the old man I may rest,
And be in Him new drest.

So holy in my Head,
Perfect and light in my dear Breast,
My doctrine tuned by Christ (who is not dead,
But lives in me while I do rest),
Come, people ; Aaron's drest.

No comments:

Post a Comment